Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Meet Nick Walkley, master of re-organisation, engineer of renewal

Aren't you proud? The Local Government Chronicle, in association with BT's local government consultancy arm, has voted Barnet council's chief executive Nick Walkley no.18 in their top 50 most influential local government figures for 2011.

Not only that, but Walkley is named as a "master of re-organisation, engineer of renewal". What has he done to deserve this accolade?
Barnet LBC’s chief executive is the force behind the ‘easyCouncil’ approach of a council that provides basic services and then invites residents to choose those they would pay for in addition.

The approach has been controversial and is not yet complete, but presents a radical and challenging response to spending cuts that may find followers.
Who writes this crap? Seriously, we all understood what the easyCouncil concept was, but has it been implemented in any meaningful way? We still have never had defined for us what "basic services" entail, or what we might have to top up for. Sure, lots of adult social services users are now having to pay for some of the services they received free before. But that's just called cuts, isn't it?

Max Wide, who was seconded to Barnet council from BT local government for a few years, at what cost and with what measurable achievement I'm not sure, is on the judging panel for this top 50, but still makes it into the listing at no.28.

I've never had any personal animosity towards Nick Walkey, and he's been civil to me when we've met. I like to keep my animus purely political. However, I can imagine Walkley cringing when he reads this verdict on his position:
Mr Walkley... is noted for wanting to bridge the gap between the best of private sector customer focus and that normally found in local government, even as councils let go of some things they have traditionally done.

But 2011 is the year when the theory is put into practice, and that puts Barnet’s chief in the limelight again. Sink or swim, the sector will be watching.
Not just the sector, Nick, old bean, not just the sector. Residents will be watching your next moves with interest: for example, will you have the courage to call a public inquiry into the council's dealings with MetPro? How will you handle the tension between serving the interests of residents and those of your political masters, the Tory administration? You're paid handsomely - more than £200,000. Do you feel you are earning it yet? I don't.

3 comments:

David said...

Is this the same BT which awarded Mike Freer his “MBA”? The same BT which paid for Freer and Leo Boland to attend junkets in America? The same BT which signs consultancy contracts worth tens of millions with local authorities all over the country, whose leaders are similarly wined and dined as part of the BT Vital Vision concept?

Mrs Angry said...

Mrs Angry is crying in despair. Our lives in their hands.

Moaneybat said...

Ever wonder which Administration brought in the likes of Boland Walkley and the chap who started it all, Reynolds.

NEW Blue LABOUR in the TOWN HALL - Some foresight!